I’m often unsatisfied with the inadequately-painted and inaccurate Transformers released by Hasbro, TakaraTomy, and third-party manufacturers, and frequently make modifications to my toys to more closely match their animation models, comic book designs, and live-action CGI appearances. Sometimes all it takes is a few well-placed stickers, but other times it requires extensive repainting, parts swapping, and kitbashing accessories to satisfy my aesthetic sensibilities. Here’s some of the work I’ve done over the past year or so.
Using the new “gallery” feature, you can now browse each of these images in a slideshow. Click on any of the thumbnails below to start!
I hated the head on FansProject’s Ultra Magnus homage “City Commander,” so I replaced the face entirely.
I cut the face off a MyClone Ultra Magnus, and repainted the visor with my usual Autobot clear-blue-over-silver optics.
For TFC’s Silverbolt homage “Blackbird,” I replaced the original head with the Universe Silverbolt’s, repainting it to match his anime colors.
For Henkei Tracks, I designed a set of stickers that more accurately reflected his animation model. I also significantly reduced the size of the feet.
I created this custom sticker in Photoshop for TFC’s “autoscout” microcassette.
The “autoscout” in Masterpiece Soundwave’s chest.
I hated the avian head Air Raid came with, so I substituted the TFCC Punch/Counterpunch head.
All the new head required was a little gold paint on the faceplate.
I painted the face of FansToys “QuakeWave” black, to add depth and match Shockwave’s cartoon look.
The figure is articulated well enough to accurately reproduce this classic Marvel comics cover.
The “Art Feather” Bumblebee reproduces the original VW mode beautifully, but gave the robot mode a horribly large backpack.
I severed the spine in order to add a swivel joint below the hinge.
I also attached the doors and hood to the back of his legs, further altering the figure’s profile.
Finally, I gave him a repainted Classics Bumblebee head, after shaving off the figure’s “goatee” chin.
This is the Titan AE figure I chose for Dirge’s face, a figure that unfortunately arrived without one.
I cut off his nose and chin, replacing them with flat, robotic features, and fit the face into Dirge’s empty head cavity.
With paint and shiny eye stickers cut and applied, he fits right in with his “conehead” brethren.
I found this car carrier for Armorhide (the only Unicron Trilogy figure I own!), and added a bunch of 1:64 die-cast cars for scale.
It’s lovingly detailed, with little ramps for the cars and wheel locks to hold them in place.
I repainted Armorhide’s grill to bring out the sculpted detail, and painted the tires black to match the trailer.
I also added a ton of weapons to the trailer, making Armorhide a mobile armory!
I chose only weapons he could wield himself…
Some rejected Hasbro weaponry…
Some rejected Takara weaponry…
Some Renderform guns…
…and lots of iGear accessories.
Love the chrome on these.
So big and shiny!
Little guy with BIG guns. ^_^
It all fits in his trailer!
Capticon, now with specially-chosen weapons.
They store under his alt. mode.
“This mouse is a Decepticon sympathizer!”
Human Alliance Sideswipe had his backpack modified so that it fits flush with his back, better matching his look from Revenge of the Fallen.
A repainted First Edition Optimus, with metallic red and silver highlights.
A lot of fine brush work to bring out the sculpted details on this fantastically accurate figure.
Takara did a great job painting “Silas” Breakdown’s face, but they didn’t bother painting the tiny pilot inside.
I did my best to paint Silas, and the machinery around him, so that you could actually tell he’s in there.
I also drilled holes to allow some light-piping to shine through Breakdown’s transparent blue torso.
iGear’s “Delicate Warrior” Arcee homage is an awesome figure, except for the large protruding wheels. I removed the originals, and substituted much smaller ones.
An Autobot symbol on the hood completes the look.
The smaller wheels also allow her to finally cross her legs… and I love how she can reach back and pull the gun from her backpack.
Animated Arcee, with wings that attach at the hips…
…and a repainted face to match the animation model.
Wreck-gar’s new ball-jointed neck raises the head a little, allowing for a greater range of poses.
I loved FansProject’s take on Broadside, but the aircraft carrier mode left a lot to be desired…
I made a new aircraft carrier deck, but I haven’t painted it yet.
It folds in half, doubling as a shield in robot mode.
FansProject “Backfiery,” next to G1 Kickback.
Backfiery, before his G1 makeover…
…and after Kickback’s repainted head and gun were modified for his use.
Next came “Stormbomb,” FansProject’s Bombshell homage.
Those ninja weapons had to go.
Now with G1 weapons and repainted head, he looks like a proper Bombshell update.
Finally, the Shrapnel homage “Thundershred”…
Those iconic lightning rod antennae are sorely missing from FansProject’s figure.
Now attached to the figure, “Thundershred” finally becomes a legitimate Shrapnel.
My Masterpiece Insecticons.
I did some extensive work to iGear’s “Hench” to make him look more like Brawn from the cartoon.
Removing the chassis around his head was the first step…
Lots of cutting, drilling, and added parts.
The vehicle backpack can now be attached much lower…
Now he matches the animation model much closer.
I also gave him a chrome gun that fits under his vehicle mode.
The gun came from Henkei Sideswipe, I think.
Here’s my substantially rebuilt Classics Cliffjumper.
His appearance is based on the original cartoon, right down to the massive cannon he sports in “More Than Meets the Eye.”
It’s kitbashed from a TFC weapon, with scratchbuilt styrene details added to the shaft of a ballpoint pen.
It attaches to the roof in vehicle mode…
…or can be carried on the trailer behind him, disguised as some kind of meteorological equipment.
The head is a modified War For Cybertron Cliffjumper head, since that figure got a more game-accurate Shapeways head.
Here’s the War For Cybertron Cliffjumper, with a head matching his video game model (clearly inspired by the Transformers: Prime Cliffjumper).
The eyepiece was printed in translucent plastic, and the back of the head is unpainted (to allow the usual light-piping).
Another head I replaced was Cyberverse Flak’s.
A Gundam Mobile Suit head was repainted and attached, and the chest was modified to sit lower and give Flak a slimmer profile.
His custom weapon (originally from Kabaya Ultra Magnus) fits under the alt. mode chassis.
Can you see it between the front tires?
Roadbuster, my most extensive and time-consuming custom to date.
Originally a Mugen Calibur from Dorvack, I completely disassembled the figure to repaint every single part.
The new hinges I added (on the underside of the chassis in vehicle mode, between the shoulders) rotate upwards and fill the gap at the top of the chest.
I considerably re-sculpted the head, lowering the “ears” and extending the brow to match the look of the original toy (and his comic book appearances).
I also armed him with numerous scratchbuilt weapons.
They all attach to his vehicle mode…
He makes for a ridiculously imposing jeep!
He can’t wield all these weapons simultaneously in robot mode, of course…
…so some of them collapse for storage in his backpack.
He can at least carry them all. ^_^
These two black repaints combine to form one of my most popular customs…
I painted a FansProject “Shadow Commander” trailer with matching teal highlights, which Dark Skyfire can ride on.
The back of the trailer can fold down to form a launch ramp for the jet.
The combined robot mode is very imposing.
The remaining parts of the trailer form a mobile electro-destabilizer cannon.
Looks especially cool in flight.
I completely repainted Wheelie, replacing his G1 toy color scheme with a more anime-accurate two-tone orange, along with a silver faceplate and matching silver-bordered Autobot sticker.
Masterpiece Grimlock is too small to scale properly with Wheelie, but he’s too small to scale with any other Masterpiece figure anyway.
Doesn’t stop him from showing the orange bastard who’s the boss!
Another FansProject head replacement. I removed the tiny “Colossus” head and replaced it with a G1 Bruticus head.
This necessitated adding a ball-jointed neck to attach the head to Onslaught’s body.
The Movie figures are a constant work-in-progress — no matter how much detail you add or weathering you apply, it’s never enough — but I’m fairly happy with these two.
Bumblebee is little more than a repaint of the Revenge of the Fallen “Battle Blades” figure; the collar spikes are the only new parts added.
The Optimus Prime figure had LEDs installed in the abdomen (for the headlights) and the head.
The power source and on-off switch are attached to Prime’s back.
Two concealed watch batteries power the LEDs.
Various modifications were made to match the CGI model, and every part was carefully painted and weathered as accurately as I could manage.
The LED I mounted in the head.
The individual finger joints, melted with a soldering iron to look like rivets (and to tighten the often problematic joints).
The Leader Megatron figure, with substantially upgraded articulation.
The original toy head was cut into separate parts so that it could be reshaped to more accurately reflect Megatron’s Revenge of the Fallen appearance…
…and looks positively demonic when lit from within!
More sculpting work is required before the figure is painted.